argument top image

Are the Marvel movies good cinema? Show more Show less
Back to question

The Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, is one of the most successful intellectual properties of all time. But when asked about his opinion of the Marvel movies, famed filmmaker Martin Scorsese contended that they were not real cinema. This is not just one man's shot at a franchise, but rather a part of an overarching debate about whether the Marvel movies are merely common blockbusters, or something much more. Is Scorsese right, or does the MCU deserve more artistic respect?

No, the Marvel movies are not cinema Show more Show less

Popular movies are not always good cinema, and such is the case with the Marvel movies.
< (2 of 2)

The plots of the Marvel movies follow a formulaic pattern without creativity

True cinematic works stand out on the basis of their unique stories. The Marvel movies lack this element.

The Argument

Marvel - and Disney - are movie-making machines. They churn out movie after movie to stay on top of the film industry. But machine-made products in any industry tend to all look the same. And the same goes for all the movies in the MCU. All of Marvel's movies follow the same basic formula. Their plots always loosely follow Joseph Campbell's "hero's journey:" the call to adventure, meeting a mentor, conflict with the foe, a "darkest hour," and eventual triumph. But there are also other similarities specific to Marvel movies. There's always an "emotionally-distant antihero," a dead mentor, a token "strong female character," an internal pep-talk revelation, and an anticlimactic final battle.[1] Look past some of the specific aesthetics and character names and you'll see the same story told over and over again. Sure, it might be an entertaining watch in itself, the first time around. But such a surface-level hero story told over and over again just wears on an audience. It certainly doesn't merit praise as good cinema.

Counter arguments

There are certain story beats common to the Marvel movies. But anyone taking a cursory glance at the plots of these movies can see that the differences are quite substantial. Does Guardians of the Galaxy, a space action-comedy about surrogate family, really resemble Black Panther, a story about political competition and oppression? Is Captain America: The First Avenger, about Steve Rogers gaining the strength to fight for his country, really the same as his succeeding films in which he becomes disillusioned with his country and fights against it? There is much more variety in the MCU than critics give it credit for.



Rejecting the premises




Not sure yet? Read more ↑


This page was last edited on Sunday, 16 Aug 2020 at 21:45 UTC

Explore related arguments